HR 467 Georgia Senate Study Committee on Service Animals Dawn Alford Public Policy Director Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities November 27, 2018 Legal Definition of Disability Defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Actual Disability physical or mental impairment that substantially
limits a major life activity Record of a Disability Regarded as Having a Disability Note that only people who qualify under the first 2 prongs qualify for reasonable accommodations, including the use of service/assistance animals. 2 Classification of Animals Service animals Emotional support or
comfort animals Assistance animals Therapy animals Pets 3 Legal Definition - Service Animal The Department of Justice defines a service animal under the ADA as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The ADA also allows miniature horses to be service animals.
The Department of Transportation defines a service animal under the Air Carrier Access Act as [a]ny animal that is individually trained or able to provide assistance to a qualified person with a disability; or any animal shown by documentation to be necessary for the emotional well being of a passenger. 4 Legal Access for Emotional Support Animals and Assistance Animals The Air Carrier Access Act includes emotional support animals in the definition of service animal--any animal shown by
documentation to be necessary for the emotional well being of a passenger. The Fair Housing Act & Section 504 include access for an animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a persons disability Uses the term assistance animal 5 Context is key State / Local Government Title II ADA - Service animals MUST be permitted Public accommodations (e.g., , Hospitals, grocery stores, etc.) - Title III ADA Service animals MUST be permitted
Housing Both service & assistance animals must be allowed this includes companion and emotional support animals - Fair Housing Act Air Travel - Both service & emotional support animals must be allowed - Air Carrier Access Act See the handout from NW ADA Center that compares federal laws regarding service animals. http://nwadacenter.org/factsheet/service-animals-comparison-sheet 6 Should we criminalize fake service dogs? Would it hurt or help? There are well-meaning but misinformed individuals with a genuine
misunderstanding of whether their dog is a service dog. There are different legal definitions in the three primary federal laws that address service dog access. Literature exists that gives incorrect information and leads to further confusion. There would be a disparate impact on those with non-apparent disabilities. It has the potential to violate the civil rights of people with disabilities. How will such laws be enforced? 7 So what should we do? Education about current laws is key. Dispel myths.
Service dog handlers Businesses General public Align Georgias terminology and definitions with that of the ADA. Since states cannot enforce laws that restrict access rights protected by ADA, there is no practical purpose for maintaining such laws. 8 So what should we do (continued)? Give feedback to federal agencies including DOT and HUD in rulemaking process.
https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/disability https://www.hud.gov/topics/information_for_disabled_persons Ensure service dog handlers do have adequate protections if there service animal is attacked and injured by a human or dog. 9 A big thank you Providing information and background materials Heather Ansley, Esq., MSW Paralyzed Veterans of America Emily Harvey, Esq. Disability Law Colorado
10 Resources Comparison of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) http://nwadacenter.org/factsheet/service-animals-comparison-sheet Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html#misc ADA INFORMATION LINE 800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY); M-W, F 9:30 a.m. 5:30 p.m. , Th 12:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) to speak with an ADA Specialist. Calls are confidential
Air Travel with Service Animals https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/AirTravel_with_ServiceAnimals-TriFold. pdf Service Animals for People with Disabilities and Housing and HUD-Funded Programs https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/SERVANIMALS_NTCFHEO2013-01.PDF 11 12 Questions?
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